New Tamiya Il-2: The REAL comparison...

Discussion in 'Model Kit Reviews' started by Gaston, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. Gaston

    Gaston Banned

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    #1 Gaston, Jun 7, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2012
    When the first blurry pictures of the Tamiya 1:48th scale Il-2 appeared, I was initially very happy at the appearance of this very colourful subject, because the Accurate Miniatures kit had been a unpleasant failure (for me) due to a tendency for a too flat and assymetrical dihedral.

    Wartime pictures of the Il-2 tended not to match the initial views angles, so I ignored the strange impression even the blurry pictures made: That changed when I found clear pictures at more appropriate angles: The canopy of the Tamiya kit looked disastrously too small: There was no doubt about it.

    I knew the AM kit at least had always looked all right in the canopy size (though the AM's nose had more serious problems than I anticipated), to the point of any comparison of it to photos of the Tamiya kit being quite shocking.

    Then Brett Green announced that he was going to do a comparison article of the Accurate Miniatures kit to the new Tamiya kit, and I have to say I was puzzled: Just what was he going to say about this canopy debacle?

    Prior to posting the article, he posted a question on his site as to possible canopy variantions on the Il-2: This is what the resident VVS expert Serguey (of Vector) answered (in substance): "The armoured glass windshield was never changed throughout the war"

    Serguey did add however that there were many variations of the canopy framing fixtures, something which does not affect the canopy's overall proportions. Brett Green, however, seemingly seized on that for his article to make a rather strange claim.

    This is how he handled the canopy issue between the two kits:

    Comparing Tamiya's and Accurate Miniatures 1/48 scale Il-2 Shturmovik Kits by Brett Green

    Quote: "The windscreens of the Tamiya and Accurate Miniatures kits appear to be different. The rake of the Accurate Miniatures windscreen is slightly steeper while the armoured glass at the front of Tamiya’s is a bit wider. Once again, refer to Sergey’s photos to see one real example. Looking at wartime photos, it would appear that there were (at least) several variations in the style of windscreen, and the fairing below the windscreen. Sergey has pointed out that there were more than 90 serial modifications made to the Il-2 at various factories, so it is entirely likely that both Accurate Miniatures’ and Tamiya’s are correct, but different."

    These are the pictures he used to illustrate the windshields:

    [​IMG]



    Now that I actually have the Tamiya kit, any curiosity as to the way yours truly would go about it? Here goes:

    [​IMG]

    Sliding canopy pilot Base width (outside rail to outside rail): AM: 18.8 mm Tamiya: 18 mm (Actual FHC Il-2: 19.1 mm)

    Armored windscreen straight side height: AM: 8 mm

    Tamiya: 6.8 mm

    Armoured windscreen inside-frame width was slightly wider with AM than Tamiya, but not significant: 7.8 mm to 7.5 mm.

    Some additional photos, all riddled with evil "lens distortions" of course...:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    In profile, I found the assembled Tamiya kit does not overlay as well as the Accurate Miniatures kit to good profile photos: AM errors seem mostly confined to the upper slope of the nose.

    This is not to say the AM kit is great: In fact the nose problems I know now are so serious that it makes Tamiya's idea of making obsolete the AM kit perfectly legitimate. The problem is that the Tamiya attempt was likely made only from inaccurate drawings that were assumed to be reliable: The better nose is of no help if the entire canopy and fuselage cross-section are now wrong...

    [​IMG]

    The nose profile required some vertical pinching at the front end, and some serious added tapering at the rear, plus a very small bit of overall nose backward tilting (in situ on the fuselage) which required some angling down of the exhausts to keep them level with the cockpit sills, and finally a bit of lenghtening by adding thick plasticard at the back end of the nose to keep top intake "deck" and its intake "body" in proportion, reshaping all that plasticard neatly into the radiuses of the wingroot leading edges: FUN!

    Note the trimming of the intake lip back by 1.5 mm I previously said was actually more like 0.7 mm...

    [​IMG]

    Measuring the pilot's sliding part bottom width on the AM kit gives 21 mm, vs 19.5 mm on Tamiya, but measuring the width of the real Il-2 canopy could be complicated by the protruding sliding rails and what not... I will try to get those dimensions...

    One interesting thing to note about the Allison-engined Flying Heritage Il-2 is that the nose has a very slight differences to wartime photos just behind the spinner: No slight stepped "angle" inside the intake "deck" behind the spinner as in WWII photos. The slightly swollen upper intake "body" is, however, the same as in WWII, and Tamiya has this uper nose intake body straight, thin, with quite rounded corners in cross-section that seem "squarer" on the real thing...:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I tried my best to replicate the nose top: Here the closeness of the photo really throws proportions around, but I just wanted to to give an idea of my corrected AM nose top compared to the Tamiya kit at a similar angle:

    [​IMG]


    By the way, this is not my previous failed dihedral build: I expect to finish this one.

    The nose proportions appear better from far away:

    [​IMG]

    This is a build by "Rodriguez" (? Sorry): The difficult to fix dihedral issue of the AM kit is here completely unfixed, but the viciously dropping right wing is matched here it seems by the left wing, probably by dropping slightly the left wing(!)...:

    [​IMG]

    Supposedly there is a change in the dihedral on the real top wing's surface: I could never see this at all in many photos, especially not on straight wings, and the Tamiya kit imitates the AM kit in ignoring this.

    Unfortunately the Tamiya kit also has a tendency to a "droopy" dihedral, but it is at least symmetrical, and nowhere near as bad as the complete re-engineering required on the AM kit:

    Basically glue the bottom wing's three pieces into one very solid piece, then cut away all the numerous bulky tabs to "imitate" a "normal" wing-fuselage kit assembly, then hugely carve the left rear wingroot's trailing edge, on both contact surfaces, and even slightly the top of the right root wing fairing, to allow the fuselage's right side to sit "deeper than level" on the right rear wing join, while forcefully bending and superglueing the right spar in front (which will offer a huge fight): After that huge fight bending it, it might ask for another similar one when you actually glue the wings to the fuselage: Truly hair-raising considering all the carving I did to narrow the fuselage "push" on the wings to prevent this...

    By then the main gear foundations will be very slightly "splayed", because AM never expected you to ever build it with the correct very slight Il-2 dihedral I suppose... Not a big deal.

    Worth mentionning is that the plan view of the swept wing matches absolutely perfectly on both AM and Tamiya kits, so they do agree about some things...

    Last minute data collected: Minus the 14 mm spinner, the Tamiya kit fuselage is exactly accurate to the 11.65 M OA length, coming out at 228.7 mm, while the Accurate Miniatures kit is nearly 4 inches short at 226.8 mm (assuming the same spinner as Tamiya, which is better shaped than AM). My modified Accurate Miniatures kit has a slightly lengthened nose and comes down at 228.2 mm: One inch short.

    Most of the AM/Tamiya difference in fuselage length comes from the length of the canopy, from windscreen to the end of the rear gunner opening: 53.5 mm Tamiya to 52 mm AM.

    If you only want a famous and trouble-free VVS subject, I can't recommend enough the Zvezda La-5 FN instead (superb fit, and the engine cylinders are now beautifully striated), especially with the AML's conversion more accurate vacu-form glass... The Modelsvit Yak-1b's is also excellent, but the wings want to pinch the bottom fuselage from a correct "square" into a trapeze, and this makes it unpleasant to build (the AM Yak-1 kit being one of the most inaccurate mainstream kits I have seen)...

    Sorry for the length of this, and I hope this will help. I'll try to find out what's what with the Il-2 canopy dimensions...


    Gaston
     
  2. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Nice info here. Thank you for sharing.
     
  3. Gaston

    Gaston Banned

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    #3 Gaston, Jun 8, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2012
    Thanks Wuerger.

    I just got the windscreen dimensions(!), but the person at the museum misunderstood what I wanted for the width of the sliding canopy, and gave the length, so we'll still have to wait for that one. (Both kits are similarly slightly under one inch long on the length of the sliding part)


    I had to remeasure the windscreens to get more precise measurements with my ruler: I got the height of the AM windscreen slightly wrong in the previous post (I'll post pictures):

    Tamiya windscreen vertical: 6.8 mm (Actual 7.4 mm: +9%) Accurate Miniatures: 7.6 mm (+3% to actual)

    horizontal: Tamiya 7.4 mm (Actual 7.6 mm: +2.7%) Accurate Miniatures 7.8 mm (+3% to actual)

    Over the overall length I would consider 1% a maximum, since on the Il-2 this would be nearly five inches... On smaller parts, 3% can be considered the maximum (it would be over a foot on the overall length of an Il-2!).

    This (to my mind) confirms the Accurate Miniatures kit is the winner on this very critical part of a model. Nearly one inch and a half is missing on the windscreen height, and it is visible. Combining the missing vertical (8%) and horizontal (2.7%) dimensions makes the Tamiya windshield look about 11% too small in surface... It's amazing to see how large small dimensional differences can look on small parts...

    Gaston
     
  4. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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  5. Lucky13

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    Great stuff! :thumbright:
     
  6. Gaston

    Gaston Banned

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    Thanks very much guys: Much appreciated!

    I did just get now the width of the pilot's sliding canopy portion from FHC, outside rail to outside rail, and the result is 19.1 mm for the real aircraft in 1/48th scale, the AM kit being 18.8 mm and the Tamiya 18 mm. This is not outside the outside-moulded "bulge" but outside the actual kit canopy rails, so it is only roughly indicative: The previous 17 mm Tamiya pilot sliding canopy base measurement was because I measured the Tamiya clear part itself, which "flexes" wider when you glue it on the rails... Those measurements are now on the kit fuselages themselves.

    Generally the narrow (and nearly semi-cylindrical) appearance of the Tamiya's nose top seem to me like almost as big a concern as the canopy.

    Gaston
     
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